For more than two decades, Paradise Valley Community College Art Professor David Bradley has made it his mission to bring people together for the communal fundraiser Empty Bowls, helping to raise both awareness and funds for food insecurity. Students, faculty, and community members gather for this bi-yearly fundraiser, purchase a ceramic bowl that has been lovingly created by PVCC art students, then share a soup meal before taking the bowl home with them as a reminder that not everyone’s bowl is filled.
Bradley, who began participating himself in this tradition back in 1991, when the Mesa Arts Center and the Arizona Center in downtown Phoenix brought this event to the valley.
“I have been making bowls every year since,” Bradley said. Since joining PVCC in 2000, he has been hosting this event twice a year, raising about $15,000 for the Foothills Food Bank in Carefree, and for PVCC’s Puma Pantry on the Union Hills campus.
Last month, more than 100 people attended the event, raising $871, which will be donated to PVCC’s Puma Pantry, which provides students access to non-perishable food items and basic resources, to help them overcome food insecurity in order to focus on their educational goals.
This year’s spring event marks the first collaboration with Stacy Moreno in PVCC’s Social Work department, in which students got involved in organizing and marketing the event, learning about both local and global food insecurity, and engaging local community resources. The Arizona Center for Empowerment also attended, distributing information about the impact of climate on food, and how students can get involved in making their community better.
“I'm so grateful to Stacy for her assistance in helping to raise awareness of the food insecurity in our community and on our campus, and I'm excited about continuing this collaboration for future Empty Bowl events on our campus,” Bradley said.
Empty Bowls is a grassroots movement by artists and crafts people in cities and towns around the world to raise money for food related charities to care for and feed the hungry in their communities.